After months of controversy, the Park51 Islamic Cultural Center opened in lower Manhattan on September 21 with a photo exhibition that celebrates New York’s diversity. “NYChildren” is an ongoing project by photographer Danny Goldfield, who is photographing a New York City child born in every country in the world. The hundreds of visitors and international journalists who crowded into the refurbished storefront for the opening last night got to see the 169 photos Goldfield has taken in New York City since he began the project in 2004. It’s a feel-good debut exhibition for Park51, dubbed “the Ground Zero mosque” by protesters who opposed the opening of an Islamic cultural and prayer center within a five-minute walk of the September 11 Memorial site.
The day after the opening, Goldfield was still amazed by the crowd at the event. “I don’t know how many journalists I talked to last night,” he told PDN. He noted that some in last night’s crowd may have been wary visiting the space. “My hope is that they’ll step through the threshold and be in this pristine white gallery with 169 photos and feel more comfortable.”
Goldfield, who describes himself as “a proud Jew,” says his NYChildren project was inspired by the idea that bonding with our neighbors can strengthen communities.